The week begins with Memorial Day, the United States' holiday commemorating members of the armed forces killed in war. 2003 brings the fifth Memorial Day since Seattle canceled its annual parade of vets due to lack of interest (how do we sleep?), and the first since Operation Iraqi Freedom, which drove home the point of Memorial Day by claiming 53 American casualties, including 25-year-old Sergeant Jeannette L. Winters of Illinois, a track star turned Marine radio operator who was the first U.S. servicewoman to die in the U.S.-led action against Iraq and is pictured below. Today Seattle and the Northwest paid tribute to their vets through a variety of ceremonies, from the Japanese American Veterans service at Lake View Cemetery's Nisei War Memorial to the Governor Gary Locke-enhanced bash at Kent's Tahoma National Cemetery. Privately, Last Days commemorated the day by ruminating on the fates of those most recently killed defending the American way of life, which Last Days can criticize to infinity but will deeply appreciate forever. We also gave thought to the thousands of Iraqis killed while allegedly opposing the American way of life (a smaller number than Saddam killed annually, for what that's worth) along with other unsung casualties of American life (Indians, Africans, the poor, weak, and/or female.) Then Last Days got down to celebrating our negligibly achieved-and-maintained but undeniably gratifying freedom by doing exactly what we wanted, which on this day meant getting super high and watching a good portion of TNT's Law & Order marathon, featuring the world's most beautiful Texan, Angie Harmon, and America's most intelligent actor, Jerry Orbach.

Speaking of Iraq: Today brought the story of Jawad Amir, the Iraqi man who celebrated the fall of Saddam Hussein by emerging from the small, dark crawlspace he's inhabited since receiving a Saddam-sanctioned death sentence 21 years ago. BBC News reports that only Jawad Amir's closest relatives knew of his two decades spent between two walls in his parents' house, where Amir passed the years by listening to BBC's Arabic service and reading the Koran, never once leaving the narrow crawlspace adorned with only a peephole, some photos of Amir's younger self, and the teeth Amir lost while in hiding. Now 49, Jawad Amir told BBC News that he "feels well and is optimistic about the future."

·· Speaking of optimism for the future: Today the federal government of Canada made good on promises to ease the legal repercussions of smoking pot, introducing legislation that would eliminate criminal penalties for simple possession of marijuana and classify the possession of up to 15 grams of pot (15-20 good joints) as a minor offense punishable by a fine.

Speaking of the punishment of minor offenses: Today Last Days brings readers up to date on the saga of Brian Emanuels, the Microsoft millionaire turned public-school teacher who came under fire for bandying about the word "nigger" in a classroom at Seattle's Cleveland High School. After the flap, Emanuels did his best to explain his motives, attributing his double-dropping of the N-bomb to the cultural instruction of a black student who'd denounced an assignment as "gay." At a press conference, Emanuels apologized for his offense, acknowledging his lack of judgment in drawing his analogy and promising to be more careful in the future. The school district accepted Emanuels' apology and hoped to reinstate the temporarily suspended teacher, but the Seattle chapter of the NAACP steadfastly called for Emanuels' head, and last week, Brian Emanuels resigned his teaching post with a weary nod to those who tirelessly sought his dismissal. "[The NAACP] made statements that 'We'll make sure this man never sets foot in a classroom again,'" said Emanuels to the Seattle Post-Intelligencer. "I don't know what they might do, but who needs that?" Today the Seattle P-I offered another view on the Emanuels flap, with columnist Robert L. Jamieson Jr. interviewing local NAACP head Carl Mack, who defended his anti-Emanuels stance by suggesting that Emanuels' continued employment at the school might have inspired other teachers to "treat black students in the same, deplorable way--a very bad precedent." Never mind the bad precedent in endowing an admittedly hateful slur with near-nuclear power, effectively rendering an entire race of citizens mortally susceptible to a two-syllable word; the real shame of the Emanuels saga is best stated by the P-I's Jamieson: "Smart, committed teachers--even those who stumble--simply don't parachute into the toughest city schools every day."

Today brings the fourth and final installment in Last Days' serial reportage on the perpetually wounded man whose frequent, shame-free smearing of blood and tissue on bathroom walls and barroom carpets earned him the cruel but fitting nickname the Human Scab. This week brought a flurry of fresh reports from recipients of the Scabman's patented brand of blood-encrusted surliness, along with vehement denunciations of Last Days' cruelty in targeting this obviously troubled man. "If [someone] made the back of your neck look like his, I'd say you got what you deserved," wrote one furious reader. He may be right; we'll keep you posted. For now, the case of the Human Scab is closed (at least until he loses an arm or mounts a solo show).

Today brings an absolutely thrilling Hot Tip from a lucky Metro rider named Jake, who was waiting for the #14 bus at Bellevue and Pine this afternoon when he was awarded the privilege of overhearing a most wonderful conversation between two men seated at the bus stop. "One guy's name was Jack; the other guy's name was Slick or Slim," writes Jake. "Jack was in his 30s; Slick or Slim was much older and wore a neck brace. When I arrived they were drinking tall-boy beers, and Slick or Slim was trying to convince Jack to go somewhere with him. Jack said he didn't want to go because every time he went there he lost all his money. Slick or Slim said 'It's only five bucks a hit,' and Jack said, 'Yeah, but we'd end up spending $200 each on hits.' They laughed, then Jack explained why he didn't have money to spend." It turns out the previous weekend had been his birthday, and Jake thrilled to Jack's description of his $400 birthday blowout--getting his hair done, buying booze, then getting his dick sucked and butthole licked by a pair of women he then paid to make out together. Thanks to Hot Tipper Jake for listening and sharing, and thanks to Metro for making such magic moments possible.

Nothing happened today (unless you count the long-awaited arrest of Eric Rudolph, the 36-year-old Army vet charged in the 1996 Olympic Park bombing, a 1997 Atlanta gay bar bombing, and a 1998 Birmingham abortion clinic bombing, captured today in the mountains of North Carolina after five years at the top of the FBI's Ten Most Wanted list).

Nothing happened today.

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